It was a warm December day when I took my Father to have a pedicure at our local nail salon. Every time we enter, the hard-working Vietnamese ladies chirp out a welcome, “Hello Angie! Hello Daddy!” He returns their greeting with a wave and a smile. We took a seat and I helped Dad get situated, pushing buttons on the remote so he could have a back massage while they worked on his feet.
As I sat back and exhaled, grateful for 30 minutes of rest, the woman on my right and I struck up a conversation. She kept looking at my Dad and knew he had Alzheimer’s. She had taken care of her friend’s father for nearly 10 months and just recently he had passed away. She showed me pictures of this dear man with tears in her eyes and I could just tell there was something special about this woman.
Sometimes people come into your life at random. Your paths cross, you strike up a conversation and soon become friends. Then there are times when God places a person in front of you at the time you need them most. It is not a coincidence. It is an answer to a prayer you’ve been praying, maybe even for months, and the answer is so incredibly specific that you know it is a divine appointment.
I told her about my blog and invited her to check it out and share it if she knew of anyone she thought it might help. I wanted to get her contact information, but her loss was so fresh that she kept fighting back tears. So as Dad and I left the salon, I just prayed, “God, please let our paths cross again.”
Nearly six months later, she reached out to me and we met for coffee. She offered to help with my Dad and I could not believe my ears. This woman has the sweetest spirit and the patience of Job. As a former teacher of children with special needs, she’s one of those people you think is really an angel walking around on earth. A few days later she came to the house to visit and I sat in awe of the way she interacted with my Dad. His repetition didn’t bother her at all and whenever we needed to coax him to do something, she spoke to him in a calm and encouraging way so that Dad obliged immediately.
It was as if Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee had entered the room and our 79-year-old distracted child came to attention and willingly obeyed. As if people with dementia come with a special manual explaining their behavior, words and actions and this woman had a copy. I never got one. She was the Alzheimer’s-Whisperer and I was in awe of her intuition. It was most definitely a gift.
My Father is always with my Mom, myself, or his friends at Grace Arbor adult day care. This has been an extraordinary burden to bear for the past 6 ½ years. But as I watched this amazing woman engage my Father in conversation, I couldn’t help but feel that burden begin to lift off my shoulders.
God is intimately acquainted with our ways. He knows the burdens we carry, and He already has a solution before we even think to ask Him for one. We’re a society that tosses around the word “angel” all the time. Of course, technically this woman is not an angel – she’s a child of God. But to my family, she is most definitely heaven sent.